GECO: Reminding students about the importance of recycling

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By Quinn Heist and Jolina kenney, GECO Correspondents

Here’s a question for you: when you are holding trash in your hands, do you recycle it or do you throw it into the garbage can? Sometimes it seems easier to just toss everything into one bin, but have you ever thought about where all that trash ends up?

We all know that once a week, we put the trash outside on the curb at night and see it disappear, or hear the noisy trucks coming to pick the trash up far too early in the morning. However, most trash is collected and then taken straight to the nearest landfill. These landfills take tons of garbage each week and bury it, forming mounds upon mounds of layered trash with a clay seal. That means that somewhere out there, almost everything you have thrown away is piling up.

Other countries use different techniques, like incinerating all their trash (which is used for energy), while others just throw the waste into the oceans.

Trash is not beneficial for natural systems which aren’t accustomed to living with along- side our waste. Sea creatures are constantly found dead from con- suming or becoming ensnared in too much plastic. We also have the Great Pacific garbage patch, which is a giant swirling vortex of garbage in the ocean and, besides the Wall of China, the only man- made thing visible from the moon.

One way to help? Recycle! Plastic, paper, glass, cans, batteries, yard trimmings and more.

In 2011, the United States generated about 250 million tons of trash and recycled 34.7 percent (EPA) of this. Recycling is a great way of condensing the amount of space we use up for our trash. When we recycle things, they are divided up into many different sections of recyclables and are then either made back into the same product or changed into something new. This process saves millions of trees, water, gasoline and energy, and it creates more jobs than the garbage industry does.

This year, as in past years, Gettysburg College is participating in an event called Recyclema- nia. Over 600 colleges from the U.S. and Canada are competing to see whose recycling makes up the largest percent of waste in tons.

This means that we should all recycle anything even suspiciously recyclable. Gettysburg College has made recycling easy for us. We have a single stream recycling system, meaning that we do not have to sort any of our own recycling into different sections. So in case you think recycling is only for paper or some types of plastic you don’t have to worry about it. If you just toss it into the recycling bin it might get recycled. If it is not recyclable, it will be sorted out, no harm done.

Recycling is an easy way we can all make a difference in our daily lives. So next time you get a meal at Bullet and go to throw away the container, look to the right. There will be a blue container so please put your trash there instead.

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Author: Brendan Raleigh

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